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Paralympics are Olympics for people with physical disabilities. The Paralympic athletes include persons with mobile disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. This event is held after the Olympics and is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The Paralympics can be traced back to the post-World War II era, when a group of British war veterans gathered in 1948 to organize an athletic event that coincided with the 1948 London Olympics. They were called the International Wheelchair Games. Prior to this, disabled people did compete in the Olympics in 1904, but the first official Paralympics were held in 1960 in Rome. Slowly, and steadily, athletes with different disabilities were included in the Olympics, and the Paralympics soon started catering to an array of events.
The birth of Winter Paralympics in 1976 was yet another milestone for the International Paralympic Committee. Held in Sweden, the event saw 198 athletes competing in various winter sports.
The main motive to start off the Paralympics was to celebrate athletes' skills, and not the disabilities. Since the first Paralympics, the count of athletes participating has increased from 400 (in Rome, 1960) to 3,900 (in Beijing, 2008).
The Paralympics consist of sports similar to the ones in Olympics. Cycling, football, judo, shooting, etc. are some of them. Same is the case with Winter Paralympics, which include Alpine skiing, biathlon, ice sledge hockey, etc.
The 2012 Paralympics will be held from August 29 to September 9. An estimated 4,200 athletes will compete this year in an event that celebrates the most spirited and talented athletes in the world!
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